Josep Ferran Sorts i Muntades
Baptized 14 February 1778 (date of birth unknown)
|Died||10 July 1839 (aged 61)|
The second piece from Twelve Minuets, Op. 11, early 19th century (3:08)
The first piece from Sor's 24 Progressive Lessons For Beginners, Op. 31, c.1828 (1:21)
Performed in 2009, this is from Sor's 24 Exercises composed c. 1828 (2:06)
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Fernando Sor or Josep Ferran Sorts i Muntades (
As Sor's works were published in various countries, his name was translated, leading to variations in the spelling. Variations have included Joseph Fernando Macari Sors, Fernando Sor, Ferran Sor, Ferdinand Sor, and Ferdinando Sor.
Born in Barcelona to a fairly well-off family, Sor was descended from a long line of career soldiers and intended to continue that legacy, but was distracted from this when his father introduced him to Italian opera. He fell in love with music and abandoned his military career goals. Along with opera, Sor's father also introduced him to the guitar.
At a young age, Sor's parents wouldn't give his musical abilities too much special attention, for fear it would distract from his Latin studies. Therefore, the young Sor (still not 11 years old) began to write songs to words in Latin to impress his parents. He even invented his own system for notating music, as he had not yet received formal training.
When he reached the age of 11 or 12, the head of the
In 1808, when
Having abandoned his family's ideal of a military or administrative post, Sor could finally give music a serious try in France. He gained renown at first as a virtuoso guitarist and composer for the instrument. When he attempted composing
In 1815, he went to
By 1823, once he had acquired a level of fame in London, Sor again wandered away, this time with the ballerina Félicité Hullen to
In 1827, partly due to his advancing age, he settled down and decided to live out the rest of his life back in Paris. It was during this retirement that he composed the majority of his guitar works. He had to comply with the demands of the public, though, and most guitarists wanted technically simple, nice-sounding pieces. It was in these last ten or so years of his life that his writings reveal his bitterness towards how his publications were being received by the public. For example, Opus 43 is entitled Mes Ennuis ("My Annoyances"), and six of his ballets are dedicated to "whoever wants them". These and other caustic remarks did not help his sales in the least. The foreword to Opus 45 goes even further than sarcasm: "Let's see if that's that. Six short and easy pieces in stages, which aim to lead to what has generally been agreed are difficulties. Composed and dedicated to the person with the least patience, by Fernando Sor. Opus 45."